The government plans to build a 32km-long subway rail track from Tongi to Sadarghat in Dhaka under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) with a preliminary cost of $5.27 billion.
The proposed project will be the first among 11 subways with the combined length of 250km, and all of them are set to be constructed within the next 30 years.
The government proposed South Korea to finance the project at the third meeting of the Bangladesh-Korea Joint PPP Platform held virtually on Thursday.
Bangladesh – in the event co-hosted by the Public Private Partnership Authority Bangladesh (PPPA) and the Korea Infrastructure and Urban Development Corporation (KIND) – also proposed South Korea to finance the Oboshor project, reads a press release issued on Saturday.
The goal of the Oboshor project is to establish a Senior Citizen Health Care and Hospitality Complex in Sreemangal upazila of Moulvibazar.
PPPA officials told The Business Standard that South Korea has proposed implementing the Purbachal Town Electricity Network Project from their end, which will help authorities concerned shift the electrical lines underground in that area.
According to sources present at the joint PPP Platform meeting, the Bangladesh Bridge Authority showcased another project to construct a four-lane bridge over the River Meghna on the Bhulta-Araihazar-Bancharampur Road.
The proposed project will serve as an alternative to the Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet highways. KIND has agreed to move forward with the project.
Providing more details, PPPA officials said the Korean government has secured exclusive rights for the Korean consortium – which comprises KIND, Daewoo Engineering and Construction, Hyundai Engineering and Construction, and Korea Expressway Corp – to conduct a feasibility study and construct the bridge.
Earlier in August this year, Bangladesh's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved in principle the bridge project for implementation under the PPP.
The $1 billion project will ensure easier and smoother road communication linking Dhaka, Brahmanbaria and India's Agartala via Araihazar and Bancharampur – located in Narayanganj and Brahmanbaria respectively.
Korean companies have so far won priority rights to three projects worth $9.2 billion, including the Dhaka Circular Railway project announced in January.
Responding to a query, CEO of the PPPA and also a secretary Sultana Afroz, said, "The PPPA has observed some success in engaging private investors, especially some foreign ones, with infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.
"Bangladesh has a policy of implementing PPP projects through Government-to-Government (G2G) as a way of leveraging resources to construct large public infrastructures. Such partnerships will not only accelerate the economic growth, but will also strengthen the bilateral relationships."
The Bangladesh-Korea Joint PPP Platform was formed on 1 April 2019 based on a memorandum of understanding between KIND and the PPPA.
The first meeting of the joint consultative body between the two countries was held in Korea in July the same year. At that meeting, Bangladesh presented 14 projects and Korea proposed 10.
Of those proposals, Korea finalised Dhaka Circular Railway, Matarbari-Modunaghat 400kV Transmission Line, Improvement of Dhaka (Joydebpur)-Mymensingh Road into Expressway with service lanes.
The second meeting of the forum was held in Dhaka in January this year.
Salman F Rahman, adviser to the Prime Minister and Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary participated in the third meeting among others on behalf of Bangladesh, read the PPPA press release.
Kim Hyun-mee, Korean minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Kyong-goo Hur, president and CEO of KIND represented Korea at the event.
Proposed project to build 11 subways
A Tk317 crore feasibility study recently conducted on the proposed subway project identified the need to construct a total of 11 lines, and five among those must be built as connecting lines for Dhaka and its nearby districts and areas such Narayanganj, Keraniganj, Munshiganj, Narsingdi, Jahangirnagar University, Purbachal and Gazipur.
Responding to a query, Abul Bashar, director general of the PPPA and also a joint secretary, said, "Bangladesh has showcased the proposal to South Korea, and if they give their initial consent, the PPPA will move forward with this project."